Snyder taps own office in flurry of last-minute appointments

Editor's note: Vanguard President and Managing Partner TJ Bucholz comments on the Michigan Legislature's Lame Duck session.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is on an appointment spree as he prepares to leave office, filling vacant posts ranging from high-profile university boards to obscure commissions that promote carrot consumption and regulate elevator inspections.

The Ann Arbor Republican has turned heads by naming members of his own administration to mostly unpaid positions. Even Snyder’s director of gubernatorial appointments Kristin Beltzer, who is in charge of the process, earned an appointment and will serve on the Governor’s Talent Investment Board until April of 2020.

Other outgoing governors have done much the same, but the recent flurry is "atypical" for Snyder, said TJ Bucholz, a Democratic strategist with Vanguard Public Affairs, who noted a growing list of Snyder staffers, loyalists and donors who have been "rewarded" with an appointment.

"It's not uncommon, but he hasn't really done it a lot until now," Bucholz said. "I think he's making up for lost time."

Outgoing governors typically try to fill every board and commission seat before leaving office, Bucholz said, calling it a "hallmark" of most administrations.

"I don't blame Gov. Snyder for trying to take care of the people who have been in his office and been successful for him," Bucholz said. "... It allows the governor to reward loyalty. There's nothing illegal about it, and there's nothing wrong with it. Republicans and Democrats have done it."

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